The track opened as scheduled for practice, and defending race winner Takuma Sato slowed alongside Indy 500 teammates Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci for a three-wide photo opportunity on the frontstretch.
McLaughlin saw the three RLL cars had slowed to a crawl ahead of him and adjusted his speed as he drove through the fourth turn. But Herta was unaware and had to quickly dive inside of McLaughlin alongside the wall to avoid a full collision.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 20, 2021
Both Herta and McLaughlin immediately returned to pit lane to check for potential repairs, with Herta estimating he would miss at least an hour of practice.
“I’m doing 220 [mph] and coming through the corner, and these idiots are doing 170, it’s just ridiculous,” Herta said.
McLaughlin spoke with Herta after.
“The Rahal cars were trying to get a nice little photo and I just checked up, and Colton came through and he caught me very quickly and it’s hard to check up,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t really know what happened. It’s the first lap of the morning.”
IndyCar said it was reviewing the incident and did not rule out possible penalties against the Rahal team. RLL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ferrucci became the first to crash during Indy 500 practice this May when he spun and hit the Turn 2 wall Thursday afternoon. Indianapolis Motor Speedway medical director Dr. Geoffrey Billows said Ferrucci would undergo further testing on his left leg after the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.